Zambia's journalists, bloggers challenge gov't decision to tax internet calls

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-16 18:24:12|Editor: Yamei
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LUSAKA, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Zambia's journalists and bloggers on Wednesday challenged the government's decision to introduce a tax on internet calls, saying it will be double taxation.

On Monday, the cabinet approved the introduction of a charge on online phone calls.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa, Zambia, and the Bloggers of Zambia said the proposed levy is a form of double and punitive taxation and taxing individual users in lieu of the social media companies that are the ones actually making money.

"We are concerned about this proposal because it falls within a pattern of (the) government to clamp down on online expression as we have noted of late," the two organizations said in a joint statement.

It is a major threat to freedom of expression, access to information, media rights, freedom of assembly online and an affront to the enjoyment of digital rights, they said.

The proposed tariff is also a threat to entrepreneurship and innovation as many youths and other citizens are using internet platforms to advance their socio-economic activities, they added.

The government has defended its decision to introduce the tax, saying it is important for the sustainability of the telecommunications industry.